I was in Albany today, and the New York Department of Public Service passed the Clean Energy Standard. It was a great day and a fabulous victory for clean air! New York State officially acknowledged that nuclear energy is a low-carbon source, and it deserves to be supported, in a similar manner that renewables are supported. (Nuclear will receive far less money per kWh than renewables, however.)
A victory like this cannot be ascribed to only one person or one organization. Many people and many groups did a huge amount of work to make this happen. That said, I have to give a huge amount of credit to the Environmental Progress organization, Michael Shellenberger and Eric Meyer, along with the Mothers for Nuclear organization, with Sarah Spath and others. There will be much more written about this in future days, but I wanted to get a blog post about it up today.
My day in Albany
I also wanted to give a first-hand idea of what it was like to be there.
My visit to Albany started last night with a dinner with nuclear activists from all over the country: California, Ohio, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia. Rod Adams includes pix of the dinner at his blog post: Fighting climate change with best available tools.
The next morning, we gathered for a rally before the Department of Public Service meeting. We met in a ground-floor corridor of the building in which the meeting took place. The meeting room was on the 19th floor. Various people spoke. I spoke about the consequences of closing Vermont Yankee, and why we have to avoid closing nuclear plants. Eric Meyer led us in a rousing rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Atom" (The Truth Goes Marching On). And then we went to the meeting rooms. Tim Knauer's article in Syracuse.com has a picture of part of the scene at the rally. Dozens of CNY residents flood Albany meeting on nuclear subsidies.
We went into the meeting room. I had the good luck to get a seat and be able to stay in the meeting room itself: the department had to open three "overflow" rooms with video feeds because of the large crowd. I heard the historical decision to support all kinds of clean energy: renewable AND nuclear. I think the best post on this is Shellenberger's post at the Environmental Progress blog: Big New York Victory Shows How Far Nuclear Still Has to Go. This post also has pictures of the celebration outside after the ruling.
It's good to have a victory.
Video: Here's a good nine-minute video about today's events, with Sarah Spath and Michael Shellenberger.